From Classroom Challenges to Athletic Triumph: Samuel Oliveira’s Road from GG2019 to Paris 2024

As the world gears up for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, all eyes are on Samuel Oliveira, a promising athlete hailing from São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo. On his way to making his Paralympic debut, Samuel’s journey to the global stage is a testament to resilience, determination, and unwavering support. 

My mother and sister always motivated me in athletics and didn’t allow me to give up. They always motivated me in athletics and didn’t allow me to give up, always cheering They vibrated with my achievements and were by my side pushing me to improve more and more. ” Samuel recalls fondly, reflecting on the pivotal role his family played in nurturing his athletic aspirations.  

Growing up in Mauá, São Paulo, Samuel’s journey to athletic stardom came along with a lot of childhood struggles due to his impairment in school. 

The school period certainly marked me a lot, I was very well known in the schools where I studied for my agitated behaviour, I had a lot of difficulties concentrating and school was not interesting to me, so I wanted to run and play with my classmates until I received the diagnosis I was labelled as a difficult and undisciplined student which earned me several complaints and many trips from my mother to the school board. At this time I was referred for treatment with psychologists.” It was during this time that Samuel received the diagnosis of an intellectual impairment.  

Shedding light on the challenges he faced, Samuel commented,   

Intellectual impairment affects my life in many ways. I need more time to learn new things and to perform tasks, I also have difficulty understanding complicated information and remembering important things, I always try to take notes and ask for help from my family in some situations. In training, I often forgot my coach’s instructions, but he has always been understanding with me and teaches me clearly so that I can understand.” 

Unfortunately, many people do not understand intellectual impairment, think it is laziness and sometimes even doubt our abilities. People must understand that we athletes with intellectual impairment also have our limitations and that being in sports is sometimes a great personal overcoming, it is where we can see that we are in fact capable,” he further added.  

Samuel was always motivated to play sports in childhood as he was tall and very energetic, he practised soccer, volleyball, swimming and basketball, but it was through his friend who was a discus thrower, that he got to know about athletics and fell in love with the sport.  

Athletics is my great passion and challenging my limits brings me a sense of freedom and personal improvement. I can see my progress with each test and see how much I’m able to accomplish my goals. How much I can achieve my goals on the track and in life, is to show especially to myself that even though I have my limitations due to my impairment, I can fly higher and higher. 

Samuel received his international eligibility with Virtus in May 2019, which opened doors for him at the international para-sports competitions. Reflecting on his international success, Samuel recalls his first medal, gold in the Men’s II1 Triple jump at the 2019 Virtus Global Games in Brisbane with particular fondness.  

It was my first international trip, and I never imagined representing my country in a global competition. It was there, at GG2019 that I realised that I could reach higher places and do something great.” 


Samuel Oliveira thrashing WR in T20 400m at Santiago 2023. Photo Credit: NPC Brazil

Samuel shattered the 400m WR at Santiago 2024 Parapan American Games, Santiago and mesmerised everyone. Samuel’s journey in athletics has been marked by perseverance and dedication. From battling injuries to overcoming the distance between his home and the track, Samuel’s determination knows no bounds.  

Paris this year will be the fulfilment of a great dream, I hope to surpass my mark and bring this achievement to Brazil,” he shares. 

As Samuel prepares to take on the world’s best in Paris, his message to aspiring athletes is one of hope and resilience.  

“Never give up, even if you encounter challenges along the way, don’t stop, because one day you will make your dreams come true.” 

With each stride on the track, Samuel Oliveira embodies the spirit of determination and perseverance, inspiring generations of athletes to chase their dreams against all odds. As Paris beckons, Samuel stands as a beacon of hope, ready to leave a legacy of overcoming and motivation for future runners to follow.  

Join Virtus’ #MakingInvisibleVISIBLE campaign in making Samuel’s journey Visible.


Intellectual impairment is an umbrella term to describe a vast and neuro-diverse group of people with varying types of cognitive impairments including intellectual disability, Down syndrome and autism. Having an intellectual impairment impacts how an athlete understands the rules of the sport, interacts with other players, and adjusts to different environments. They might find it difficult to manage reaction times, remember specific race or game strategies, retain focus for long period of time, or maintaining impulse control. 


Virtus joins 100 Days To Go Celebration for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games

More than 100 athletes with intellectual impairment are gearing up to compete at the 2024 Summer Paralympic Games, Paris 2024 from 27 August to 8 September across three sports: Athletics (T20 and F20), Swimming (S14) and Table Tennis (Class 11). Virtus is joining the #100DaysToGo countdown for Paris 2024 with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

IPC launch a promotional film for Paris 2024 that challenges the perception versus reality of the Paralympics 

  • Launched on 100 days to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the advert celebrates the dedication and competitiveness of Paralympic athletes 
  • IPC makes advert available to all its media rights holders and member organisations for use as part of their pre-Games promotion 

To mark 100 days to go until the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has launched a promotional film that addresses the romantic stereotypes of what some people think the Paralympics represent versus the brutal reality of high-performance sport.   

Paul McCartney’s 1984 seminal song We All Stand Together is the soundtrack for the film titled ‘The Paralympic Dream’ which, like the original music video, features stunning animated scenes. 

The advert was developed by the IPC’s advertising agency adam&eveddb. The creative is initially set in a dream-like animated city of Paris where Para athletes run, jump, fence, and paddle, hand-in-hand alongside loveable singing plants and animals.  

However, the animated love-in and song is abruptly interrupted with the harsh realism of Paralympic sport as British Paralympic taekwondo athlete Amy Truesdale is kicked in the chest and crashes to the mat.  

As Amy climbs back to her feet and lands a blow on her opponent, the advert cuts to a stunning montage of outstanding sporting action from previous Paralympic Games. 

The film is being made available to the IPC’s media rights holders and members organisations to support their promotion of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. 

Craig Spence, the IPC’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer, said:

“With our Paris 2024 Paralympic promotional film we wanted to challenge the perceptions and stereotypes some people have of the Paralympic Games in the most fun and creative way possible.  

“For some, the Paralympics is an idyllic event where the athletes are carefree and just happy to be there. The truth is that Paralympic sport is highly competitive and, at times, pretty brutal. To compete at the Paralympics, you have to be a world-class high-performance athlete and we show this in the film through fast-paced sporting action. 

“We created this film because we are aiming for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games to attract record TV audiences and massive crowds of spectators. This film will be used by Media Rights Holders and IPC member organisations to engage new audiences in what will be spectacular and historical Paralympic Games this summer.” 

adam&eveDDB chose the Paul McCartney track for the advert because it has a loveable childlike quality that perfectly matches the idealistic world they were trying to create and then jolts them out of it in the most memorable way possible. 

Paris 2024 Unravels the Olympic and Paralympic Medals Designs

In a historic move, Paris 2024 introduces medals adorned with a highly symbolic and priceless piece of metal: the original iron from the Eiffel Tower, marking a symbolic convergence of heritage and sporting excellence.

For the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history, each medal is embedded with original iron from the Eiffel Tower, a testament to its enduring legacy since the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Constructed to astonish the world during the 1889 Universal Exhibition, the Eiffel Tower is crafted entirely from a unique form of iron known as “puddle” iron. Produced in the forges and blast furnaces of Pompey in Lorraine, this cast iron undergoes a refining process called “puddling,” which eliminates excess carbon, resulting in incredibly pure and robust iron. Throughout the 20th century, the Eiffel Tower underwent renovations, during which certain metallic elements were removed and carefully preserved. Now, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel is granting these authentic relics of Paris and France’s history a new lease of life.

By integrating this historic metal into the medal’s design, Paris 2024 pays homage to Gustave Eiffel’s visionary spirit, reinforcing the Games’ connection to French heritage. By placing fragments of the Eiffel Tower at the centre of its medals, Paris 2024 hopes to leave athletes with an unforgettable memory of the Games, of Paris and of France.

The Eiffel Tower, the daughter of Paris and site of major world events had to be used to provide athletes with an unforgettable souvenir of Paris. With this unique metal from the Eiffel Tower, this medal has a historic character and is a nod to Pierre de Coubertin who, as a contemporary of Gustave Eiffel, was one of the last people to be able to visit the construction site of the Tower before it was opened,” said Jean-François Martins, President of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel.

In its commitment to strengthening the ties between sports, culture, and heritage, Paris 2024 has enlisted the expertise of renowned French jeweller Chaumet. As the first jeweller in the history of the Games to undertake this esteemed task, Chaumet, a company within the LVMH group and Premium Partner of Paris 2024, brings centuries of craftsmanship and elegance to the creation of the Olympic and Paralympic medals.

As creative partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, we wanted to involve several of our Houses in this collaboration so that they could put the excellence of their craftsmanship at the service of this exceptional global event. It’s the first time in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that a jeweller has designed the medals. The Maison Chaumet creative team has conceived each medal as a jewel, taking inspiration from the Parisian craftsmanship of its legendary Place Vendôme workshops and illustrating the vocation shared by all the Houses in our group: the ability to make people dream. LVMH is so proud to be part of this wonderful adventure! We hope that each athlete will enjoy wearing and admiring the medal as much as we enjoyed creating it for them,” said Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image & Environment.

With a global reputation for excellence and a deep-rooted embodiment of French artistry, Chaumet is elevating the medal design by drawing inspiration from three key themes: the hexagon, radiance, and the setting.

THE HEXAGON: Crafted from the original iron of the Eiffel Tower, the medal takes the form of a hexagon, a geometric shape closely associated with France, earning it the moniker “The Hexagone.” This emblematic shape symbolizes the unified effort of an entire nation in hosting the historic Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stripped of its “Eiffel Tower brown” paint, the puddled iron has been restored to its natural colour, blending elegantly with the gold, silver, and bronze tones of the medals. Adorned with the emblem of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, this piece of heritage sits proudly at the centre, lending the medals a distinctive two-tone appearance.

RADIANCE: Adding a touch of radiance to the medals, sunbeam-like lines extend from the iron hexagon at regular intervals. These rays, struck rather than engraved, create a stunning 3D effect, symbolizing the brilliance of France during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the shining performances of the athletes that captivate the world.

THE SETTING: Combining the iconic Eiffel Tower with the Games medal, and merging iron with gold, silver, or bronze, demanded symbolic craftsmanship. As a homage to French jewellery-making, and with the creative collaboration of LVMH and Chaumet, the medal not only features the iron piece but is intricately encrusted with it. Employing a “claw setting,” a technique synonymous with the House of Chaumet’s high jewellery creations, six metal appendages are stamped onto the medal’s surface, securing the iron piece against the medal. For the Paris 2024 Games, claw settings inspired by the iconic “Clous de Paris” were chosen, reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower’s famous rivets. The slightly concave shape of the medal enhances the depth of the design on both sides, adding to its allure.

Since the bid phase, Paris 2024 has been channelling equal ambition into organizing both the Paralympic and Olympic Games. The design of the two Opening Ceremonies embodies a shared philosophy of inclusivity, extending not only within the city but also to the public. Additionally, for the 2024 Games, both the Olympic and Paralympic competitions will take place in the same venues, showcasing Paris’s most iconic monuments transformed into arenas of athletic prowess. This concerted effort to unite the Olympic and Paralympic Games is also evident in their symbols.

Olympic and Paralympic medals design © Paris 2024

While each event boasts its unique history, both the Olympic and Paralympic medals carry distinct narratives. The Olympic medal pays homage to the Games’ revival in Greece, featuring the goddess of victory, Nike, emerging from the Panathenaic Stadium, where the modern Olympics were inaugurated in 1896. The front of the Olympic medals also showcases the Acropolis. However, for Paris 2024, the Eiffel Tower is prominently displayed alongside it, symbolizing the Games’ connection to both ancient Greece and modern France. This dual representation encapsulates the essence of the Olympic movement and Paris’s upcoming edition of the Games

For its part, the front of the Paralympic medal fully illustrates the creative choices made by Paris 2024 and Chaumet. A graphic representation of a low-angle view under the Eiffel Tower will enable the medallists to discover the Dame de Fer from a hitherto little-represented angle. The words “Paris” and “2024” frame the pillars of the Tower and are written in universal Braille, a script symbolising accessibility and a reference to its French inventor, Louis Braille. To enable the three metals to be distinguished by touch, lines are engraved on the edge of the medal won: I for gold, II for silver and III for bronze.

Virtus calls on IPC and IF’s to increase Paralympic inclusion

Marking the occasion of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Virtus has once called upon the Paralympic family to honour its commitment to increasing the representation of athletes with an intellectual impairment in the Paralympic Games.

In 2017, the IPC membership passed a motion which mandated greater inclusion which could be achieved through additional sports, additional medal events or additional eligibility classes, but to date no such change has been agreed.

Marc Truffaut, Virtus President said, “When the Virtus Governing Board met recently, we discussed the work that has been done by Virtus in this area, but ultimately the decision and responsibility lies with IPC and the International Federations of sport”.

“Our priority is the inclusion of Nordic and Alpine Skiing in the 2030 Winter Paralympic Games and we call upon the Federation of International Skiing- FIS to share this commitment in their plans which must be submitted to IPC by the end of January 2024. Secondly, we would also like to see basketball added back to the Summer Games programme for athletes with an intellectual impairment”.

“And Virtus will continue to work closely with several International Federations who have indicated a willingness to target inclusion in future Games helping to develop classification systems and growing the competition base”.

Earlier at the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, President of the International Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, also shared how important athletes with intellectual impairments are for the Paralympic movement.

“At the IPC, we are committed to working with Virtus and international federations to develop greater opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment to compete at the highest level in the Paralympic movement,” said Andrew Parsons.

“It gives me great satisfaction that this time we are seeing for the very first time II1, II2 and II3 classes here. Congratulations to Virtus, this is such an achievement. And make no mistake, athletes with intellectual impairment,  trisomy 21, Down syndrome, athletes with autism, YOU EXIST and therefore you are important for the International Paralympic Committee.”

Athletes with an intellectual impairment are the largest impairment group by number worldwide but the least represented in the Paralympic Games. Currently, athletes are eligible for a limited medal programme in athletics, swimming and table tennis.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised GG2023 medalist at Paralympic Day celebration

On Sunday, October 8th, the heart of Paris, Place de la Republique, witnessed tens of thousands of individuals embracing the world of Para sports. The event marked a significant celebration as Paris, with less than one year to go until the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, hosted a grand-scale Paralympic Day.

Eight French athletes supported by Fédération Française du Sport Adapté – FFSA, Charles Antoine Kouakou, Gloria Agblemagnon, Lucas Créange, Antoine Zhao, Timothé Ivaldi, Assya Maurin Espiau, Ceuzinha Gomez SA and Nathan Maillet became the flag bearer for athletes with intellectual impairments at the celebration.

Lucas Créange (on right) and French President Emmanuel Macron playing friendly match Photo Credit: French Paralympic Committee

Tokyo 2020 Bronze medalist, Lucas Créange engaged in a friendly match with the French President Emmanuel Macron and numerous other audience who came to experience the Paralympic Day in the french capital. Antoine Zhao and Timothé Ivaldi also played matches with the partner of the JOP Paris 2024 and Credit Cooperative of the BPCE group.

The President of the CPSF Marie Amélie Le Fur presented the Paris 2024 ticket to Gloria Agblemagnon and President of the Republic presented the same to Charles-Antoines Kouakou. Both will be competing in field and track events respectively at Paris 2024.

On October 9th, President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the GG2023 medalists from the French team and the governing board of FFSA at the Palais de l’Elysée for a special meet and greet. President Macron praised and recognized the achievements of French athletes at the recent Virtus Global Games 2023, Vichy France.

The athletes also signed hundreds of autographs to audience of all ages who came to discover and cheers for the Paralympic athletes during the autograph sessions. A huge crowd enthusiastically gathered around athletes, eager to snap selfies and convey their excitement in anticipation of France’s inaugural summer Paralympics.

FFSA athletes with Paris 2014 mascot-Phryges Photo Credit: French Paralympic Committee

“Paris 2024 To Deliver Most Spectacular Paralympics In History”, Says IPC President

Today marks the #OneYearToGo for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. In just twelve months, a remarkable display of athletic prowess awaits, with athletes with intellectual impairment stepping into the spotlight across three captivating sports: Swimming (S14), Athletics (T20/F20), and Table Tennis (Class 11). This event promises to be a celebration of their exceptional abilities and talents.

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons believes Paris 2024 is on the course to deliver the most spectacular Paralympic Games in history. 

The Brazilian Andrew Parsons holds the belief that a combination of ‘world-class sport, iconic venues, the first Games since the pandemic, and a revolutionary approach by the Organising Committee’ will culminate in a Paralympics that outshines all previous editions.

Parsons expressed, “As we reach the one-year-to-go milestone, all the stars are aligning for Paris 2024 to deliver tremendous and memorable Paralympic Games, setting a benchmark for all future editions.”

He further elaborated, stating, “The Organising Committee has promised innovative and revolutionary Paralympics, Games Wide Open to all. To date, they are delivering on all their promises and with 12 months to go, I could not be more excited for the Games and the legacy they will deliver.”

“Having attended many Para sports events this year, the level of sports performance is quite simply incredible. With the environment Paris 2024 is creating for athletes next summer, which includes many stunning sports venues at the heart of the city, I think the sporting action will surpass all of our expectations. 

“These will be the first Paralympics in Europe since London 2012 and the first to be held with spectators since Rio 2016. This combination, together with accessible and affordable tickets, will ensure we have massive crowds packing the venues, bringing the best out of our athletes. I think the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games are going to be spectacular.” 

 Aim to sell every Paralympic ticket 

With tickets set to be up for grabs starting October 9th at rates that cater to families and affordability, the IPC President has an ambitious vision: the complete sellout of all 2.8 million tickets. Among these, a noteworthy half are priced at a wallet-friendly EUR 25 or lower, while tickets spanning the diverse spectrum of 22 sporting events span from EUR 15 to EUR 100.

Andrew Parsons shared his anticipation, stating, “I’m envisioning an overwhelming surge in demand for tickets to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games once they hit the market on October 9th.”

He emphasized the unswerving commitment of the Paralympic Games to inclusivity, saying, “The Paralympic Games has consistently adhered to the pledge of making tickets accessible for all, and Paris 2024 continues to embody this very principle. Our collaborative work with the Organising Committee has yielded a range of prices that cater to families and affordability, granting entrance to world-class sports set against the backdrop of awe-inspiring iconic venues.”

Highlighting the distinctive ambience of the Paralympic Games, he further remarked, “The Paralympic Games stands as one of those rare global sporting mega-events that one can enjoy alongside their entire circle of friends and family. This very essence contributes to the exceptional and unique aura that envelops the Games for each and every attendee.”

Radiating confidence in the athletes’ prowess, Parsons affirmed, “In the span of the last decade, we’ve witnessed a remarkable leap in athletic excellence across all 22 sports. The pool of talent’s depth and the fervour of competition have never been more pronounced. From a sporting vantage point, there’s little doubt that Paris 2024 will secure its place as the zenith of Paralympic Games.”

He concluded on a hopeful note, “Much like previous iterations, our aspiration remains the attainment of a sold-out event, with every ticket being snapped up by eager spectators the moment they’re made available on October 9th. With the fusion of world-class sports, stunning venues, and pocket-friendly pricing, our resolve to achieve this aim is resolute.”

Coming closest to a sold-out scenario was the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where a staggering 2.72 million tickets (equivalent to 95% capacity) were successfully sold. Tokyo 2020 would likely have replicated this feat if not for the pandemic; a remarkable 3.1 million ticket requests poured in during the initial sales months, underscoring the immense interest.

For those keen on securing tickets, they can be acquired through the official Paris 2024 Games website.

Source: International Paralympic Committee

Acer Ebru and Chen-Po Yen qualifies for Paris 2024

The II1 table tennis tournament brought intense excitement as the qualifying matches unfolded at the GG2023 on 6th June. Spectators were treated to nail-biting Paris 2024 qualifying matches in both the male and female II1 categories. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation as each match brought its own set of surprises and intense moments.

In II1 Women’s semi-final matches, while home favourite Lea Ferney had to face defeat at the hands of Turk Surmeyra (TUR) by 3-0, Acer Ebru (TUR) thrashed ITTF World no. three, NG Mui Wui (HKG) by 3-0 and got one step closer to the golden ticket for Paris 2024. On the other hand, Wong Ting Ting made it to the finals by achieving victories over Turk Surmeyra (TUR) and Seo YangHee (KOR) in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, respectively, with scores of 3-0 and 3-1.

In the thrilling finals, Acer and Wong Ting Ting treated the audience to an exhilarating series of matches. Acer displayed an aggressive playing style, launching powerful smashes, while Ting Ting calmly defended against the onslaught. However, Ting Ting eventually succumbed to Acer’s relentless attacks and lost the finals by a score of 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-5).

Acer Ebru with her Paris 2024 Ticket. ©Virtus. Photo Credit: T.NGUYEN

Ebru Acer created history by becoming the first athlete with an intellectual impairment from Turkey in Table Tennis to qualify for the Paralympic Games ever. She broke into tears while talking to Virtus.

I don’t know what to say, I am very happy. I practised really hard for this competition, and I am very happy to qualify for Paralympics,” said Acer Ebru.

Representatives from Virtus member organisations from Turkey were overwhelmed too by Acer’s victory.

“It’s the first time a Turkish athlete in Table Tennis will go to the Paralympics and we are extremely happy about it. Our team has become very strong in the past few years in Table tennis, we have been training for the past six years for this achievement.” Mr. Birol, President of Virtus Turkey told Virtus.

“Virtus competitions have played a key part in Acer’s journey, without Virtus competition Acer wouldn’t have been able to achieve this feat today,” he further added.

Meanwhile, in Men’s category, Makajew Maciej (POL) took everyone by surprise by defeating three-time Paralympian, Peter Palos (HUN), and Sam Von Einem (AUS) by 3-0, 3-2 in knockout matches to secure a place in the finals. Kim Chang-Gi (KOR) too stood well to everyone’s expectations by winning all the matches, beating the ITTF world no. 1 Lucas Creange by 3-2, but later succumbed to Chen Po Yen from Chinese Taipei in the semifinals.

Chen-Po Yen with his Paris 2024 ticket. © Virtus. Photo Credit: T.NGUYEN

Chen-Po faced Makajew Maciej in the finals and had a clean win by 3-0 (11-8,11-8, 15-13) over Makajew. Seventeen-year-old, Chen-Po was delighted to winch ticket to Paris 2024 and was seen celebrating with his contingent. Talking to Virtus, Dr Mu, Ming-Chu, President of the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee, who was also the Head of Delegation for Chinese Taipei said,

I am very proud of this young boy who is just a high school student. Chen had no specialised training program to train himself but he did his best and achieved this extraordinary result. I am very happy and proud that he qualified for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year.”

International Paralympic Committee President, Andrew Parsons was among the distinguished guests who watched the historical finals and was very impressed by their performances.

It was an honour to present both the athletes with the Gold Medal and the qualification certificate to Paris 2024″, Andrew Parsons commented.

Virtus extends its heartfelt congratulations to both qualifiers for their exceptional performance and looks forward to their Paralympic Games debut in Paris 2024. Their participation in the Paralympic Games will serve as an inspiration to athletes worldwide.